Semper Paratus. Two simple words that to the men and women of the United States Coast Guard serve as words they live by – always ready.
For these men and women, the job hasn’t changed. They are getting up every morning and leaving their loved ones to serve their country by going to work – ensuring they are always ready to serve and support our communities.
But despite their service and commitment, many are struggling or beginning to struggle financially because they did not plan to be working for the past month without receiving the paycheck that they continue to earn. And let’s face it – it is harder to concentrate at work when you are worried about those at home.
Unfortunately, members of our Coast Guard are not the only ones impacted by this partial government shutdown. Park rangers, security personnel, federal workers, government contractors – tens of thousands of real people in our community working as public servants – our friends, neighbors and family members – are struggling to make ends meet.
The good news is that the bi-state region has a huge philanthropic heart and countless organizations that are also “always ready” to help our neighbors in need 365 days a year.
The St Louis Area Foodbank is working with leaders from the Coast Guard and other Federal Organizations to support families through increased distributions to our agencies throughout our 26-county network until the shutdown is over. Additionally, we will start doing distributions from the St Louis Area Foodbank in Bridgeton on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Jan. 24th. To schedule an appointment for pickup or learn more about our shutdown efforts, visit our resource page.
We want to ensure that no one is going to bed hungry – because the alternative is simply unacceptable. Aside from our ability to provide healthy and nutritious food to anyone in need, we also have “non-food” items. Additionally, we have resources and networks to help connect people who are struggling with other bills, such as utilities, home payments, or rent. And although SNAP recipients received their benefits for January AND February this month, we continue to monitor SNAP which is at risk starting in March.
Some are quick to note that for many, pay is just being “delayed” and that furloughed and unpaid employees will receive it “sometime.” Unfortunately, none of us can predict when that “sometime” may be, and at the St Louis Area Foodbank we want to assure our community that we are leaders in hunger relief anytime – for anyone who is struggling. As an Army Veteran I can tell you that military men and women aren’t accustomed to having to ask for help; they are accustomed to providing it – it’s what we do. I know as a veteran that we believe in paying it forward, and I also know that, while we may be serving these men and women and their families today, they will MORE than pay it back to our community in the future.
Since 1975 it has been our humble mission to serve and support the bi-state region – and we continue to stand “Semper Paratus” to support all of our neighbors in need – for as long as there is a need.
For more information on where to find and access food near you please visit our website at STLFoodbank.org or call (314) 292-6262.